George Michael used his star power actively in the greatly needed drive to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS. And he came out. Today, coming out as gay has an entirely different tone to it for celebrities. If you come out, people congratulate you on Twitter. It gets a nice mention in entertainment press. Organizations like GLAAD throw you a party with cake, gift bags and pony rides. It's really amazing! Let's face it. Just about every other TV show in prime time now has a gay character or a real-life openly gay actor in the cast or a real gay person in a reality show. We've got openly gay network news anchors now. But back in the 80s and 90s, coming out for a performer could mean a loss of employment and a severe decrease in work opportunities and income. Lord knows I was never anywhere near the talent of a George Michael, but I was on national TV and hoped to do more national TV coupled with few acting roles. I'm sure people figured out that I'm "heterosexually-challenged" but I did not come out publicly for fear of not getting future employment. With the money I was making, I not only took care of myself. I was paying off the mortgage on my long-divorced mother's house after she moved out of South Central L.A. and helping her with bills.
We will remember George Michael.